Years back a few dumb incidents convinced me to stop drinking at corporate holiday parties. Every single time I woke up the next morning I immediately felt like a complete ass. I either didn't remember what I did, or I did remember and absolutely feared going to work the next day. It's just a bad, bad situation and you don't want to be "that guy". I'm actually surprised I was never fired for some of the idiotic things I did at these parties.
I tossed together a good list of things to avoid doing these company parties. I am not saying you'd do these things, but the guy in the cube next to you might so send this over to him.
- Shop Talk - If some Vice President starts a conversation with you and wants to talk about work, that's fine and it shows that this guy respects you enough to hear your thoughts. However, you don't want to be the nag sitting with a bunch of peers complaining about your job. Make it a rule to stay out of work conversations.
- The Speech - No, you are not giving a speech thank God. But you luck runs out there. At some point someone important at your company will get up to give a little speech about the year. Do not doze off, do not run to the bar while they are talking and do not socialize with the people at your table. Just sit nicely and either listen or pretend that you are.
- Dancing - At some point there will be a group of people that start dancing as the booze settles into their bodies. If you like dancing then dance, however, grinding, grabbing and groping are frowned upon. The big bosses are probably in a different age group than you are so they will not necessarily appreciate your new moves.
- Gifts - Some employee every year will suggest a gift swap. Just do it. Buy your gift, follow the rules and play the game. You will be remembered more for not participating than for playing a silly game. If there is no game, don't bring gifts for a couple select individuals. Inevitably, Mike will be upset that you gave Marcy a gift and not him...it's just awkward.
- Sally - Sally is your co-worker and yes, she is very pretty. As you drink more, she'll get prettier. Remember, just because you can get her, doesn't mean you should. It's also not the time to tell her how dreamy she is. Keep it clean and remember you have to see this person Monday and she is not some barfly that you'll never see again.
- Open Door - Every CEO or President of every company on Earth proclaims that there is an Open Door Policy stating that he or she will talk to any employee about any issue. Please remember this does not give you a free ticket to slur and complain after a few drinks. After drink 3, avoid execs like the plaque.
- Cab - Do not drive home if you can't even if you think you can.
- Your Wrap - A lot of times we'd go to the company party and then go to a bar afterwards. Most of the time it was a club as opposed to a sports bar so occasionally we'd have some genius come to the company holiday party in club clothes (ex. short skirts, see-through tops). Not recommended.
- You are on the clock - No you are not getting paid to be at this party, but please remember this is a company event. Therefore it's reasonable to think that company rules apply. There is a possibility that the HR people have the ability to write you up or take some action if you get out of hand.
- Vomit - Just don't. If you feel it coming, get somewhere far away and force it out to get it over with. The last thing you need is to let it loose in the hallway because you didn't make it to the bathroom.
Photo: Mr. Lerone on Flickr